Privilege

Every Wednesday at 12 p.m., we gather together in the Chapel for a healing service. There is a group of faithful and dedicated parishioners who attend. At each worship, we read a story from the Holy Men Holy Women, and celebrate our Eucharist in honor of the holy man or woman to whom the day is dedicated. The service itself is calm, warm and it is incredibly open to the extent that on some Wednesdays, we all engage in a conversation before worship begins.

Last Wednesday, we celebrated Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. In my homily, I spoke about the privilege to be called by God, the privilege to be called as Christians and, for me, the privilege to serve in this parish as a pastor and a priest.

I shared a story of Mrs. Lippincott, who was one of the dedicated parishioners who worshipped every Wednesday. Mrs. Lippincott could barely climb the stairs leading to the chapel but she made it a point to be present week-in and week-out. There were times when she could hear me perfectly well, and there were times when she could barely hear me, and when she was unable to hear, she let me know. I was able to sit next to her and read or preach so she could hear.

For me, privilege is not about status or a sense of entitlement. Rather, it is the self-awareness that generates a deep sense of gratitude in me. I have never lost sight of the fact that I am an African–American serving in a predominantly White congregation. I don’t think I have ever felt entitled to being a pastor and a priest at this beautiful church and welcoming community.  I feel very privileged to be serving here. And many, many people, including Mrs. Lippincott, help me to be grateful for the privilege of serving you all.

– Manny